Archive | Canadian Media Resource Articles

As 777 winds down, Hudbay looks to Lalor – by D’Arcy Jenish (Canadian Mining Journal – June 2017)

For nearly a century – 90 years in December, to be precise – Hudbay Minerals has been the cornerstone and lifeblood of the northern Manitoba community of Flin Flon. But change is coming to this quintessential one-industry, resource-based Canadian town.

In 2020, Hudbay is scheduled to close the 777 mine – its only remaining mining operation in the immediate vicinity of Flin Flon. Meantime, the company is continuing to develop and expand its base and precious metal Lalor mine, which began producing in late 2014 and is located in Snow Lake, 215 km east of Flin Flon.

“We have undertaken a program of re-evaluating exploration opportunities with the Flin Flon area,” says Cashel Meagher, Hudbay’s senior vice-president and chief operating officer. “The obvious future in northern Manitoba will divert from Flin Flon to Lalor. We want to perpetuate the life of the Lalor mine.” Continue Reading →

Canada’s Boutique-Broker Bust May Be Over But Lessons Remain – by Kristine Owram (Bloomberg News – June 26, 2017)

The crisis that wiped out a quarter of Canada’s independent brokers seems to have halted. Four new firms signed up with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada in the first five months of 2017 and only two deregistered. That compares with net dropouts over the last four years as plunging commodity prices and higher compliance costs favored big banks.

Boutique dealers were also battered by Canadian investors’ post-crisis aversion to risk capital, which prompted them to avoid the kind of companies that typically work with smaller brokerages. Such firms funnel research and capital into small and mid-cap companies, which account for more than a quarter of volume traded in Canada’s equity markets.

“Life for independents has gotten better over the last six months,” Dan Daviau, chief executive officer of Toronto-based independent broker Canaccord Genuity Group Inc., said by phone. “Investors are all of a sudden saying, ‘Hey, I don’t mind taking a little more risk, I don’t mind investing in an early-stage tech company or a mining company that’s just discovering stuff.’” Continue Reading →

Greenpeace is a menace to the world – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – June 24, 2017)

The little town of Saint-Félicien, in Quebec’s lovely Saguenay region, is under siege. The softwood lumber wars have broken out again, and that’s bad news. … Then there’s Greenpeace. “Greenpeace wants our total death!” mayor Gilles Potvin complained back in 2013. “If we listen to them, we can’t cut wood any more.”

Greenpeace has been waging a relentless campaign against Resolute Forest Products, the largest forest company in the region and in Canada. (It is the successor company to Abitibi and Bowater.)

Greenpeace has branded Resolute as a “forest destroyer” that is risking a “caribou herd death spiral” and harming the region’s First Nations. It has vigorously lobbied Resolute’s customers – including the world’s biggest book publishers – to boycott its paper and print products. Continue Reading →

Hawthorne’s Cobalt letters – by Douglas Baldwin (CIM Magazine – February 2017)

Scheming brokers, including a famous author’s son, deceived many speculators during the Cobalt, Ontario silver rush

Two years after the 1903 discovery of rich silver deposits in northern Ontario, a Toronto brokerage firm asserted that “when you take into consideration that Cobalt’s mines have produced more in value than the Klondike is producing per annum, or has ever produced, you will have some idea of the great results that will come out of this camp when fully developed.”

Mining companies licensed to work in Ontario grew from 43 in 1903 to 683 four years later. For three consecutive days, mounted police in New York City cleared Broad Street of would-be investors who were obstructing traffic in their efforts to buy Cobalt shares from the curb brokers.

Stories of millions of dollars changing hands overnight were legion. The Canadian Annual Review recounted the tale of a North Bay resident who made $15,000 by merely picking up silver nuggets lying on the ground. Continue Reading →

[B.C. Golden Triangle – Pretium Resources] In the Valley of the Kings – by Virginia Heffernan (CIM Magazine – April 18, 2016)

Up above the treeline in the mountains of northwestern B.C., Pretium Resources’ Brucejack project promises to add lustre to the province’s mining industry.

Cost overruns in the gold mining industry have become so commonplace that investors are justifiably wary of feasibility estimates. But the Brucejack project in British Columbia is trending in the opposite direction as construction progresses, shedding capital costs amid fiercely competitive conditions for equipment and contractors and favourable currency markets.

Since Vancouver-based Pretium Resources released a feasibility study for Brucejack in mid-2014, estimated capital costs for the project have dropped 14 per cent to US$641 million. That excludes the US$56 million in working capital set aside for startup in case gold receipts are delayed. The portion allocated to the underground mine fell 33 per cent to about US$101 million. Continue Reading →

Pioneering Canadian system ensures conflict-free gold – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – June 26, 2017)

Rigorously documenting exports from small-scale sites boosts miners’ revenue, gives buyers ethical certainty

The work is exhausting and dangerous. Under the harsh sun on the side of a Congolese mountain, men and women dig rocks from a crude pit, crush them with hammers and wash them in a muddy river, searching for tiny flakes of gold. For this gruelling labour, the hardscrabble miners earn an average of just 94 cents (U.S.) a day.

It’s a long journey from these mountain shafts to a boutique jeweller in downtown Toronto, where the rough nuggets are transformed into engagement rings and wedding bands. But under a new Canadian ethical-trade program, the mine workers will have a chance at a higher income. And consumers will have precise proof – for the first time – that their gold jewellery is free from the taint of war or corruption.

In late May, a passenger named Joanne Lebert carried an unusual item in her hand luggage on the lengthy flight from eastern Congo to Toronto. In a sealed bag inside a glass jar, she carried 238 grams of gold, purchased from small-scale mining sites near the remote town of Mambasa. Continue Reading →

Editorial: Africa remains a dominant force in global gold mining – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – June 21, 2017)

Global mining news

With so many troubles in Africa’s centres of gold mining — extremist attacks in West and North Africa, perennial challenges in Central Africa and the long, slow decline of violence-ridden South Africa — it can be easy to lose sight that, at least from a technical perspective, gold mining is still a strong and productive sector on the continent.

While global mine production increased in 2016 by 35 tonnes to 3,255 tonnes (104.7 million oz.) according to Metals Focus Ltd. and by 14 tonnes to 3,222 tonnes (103.6 million oz.) according to GFMS — both figures being the seventh consecutive, all-time highs, in contrast to earlier predictions of a slight decline — Africa stands out as one of the top-performing regions of the world for gold mine production.

According to Metals Focus, Africa hosts five countries among the world’s top gold-producing countries, which are led by the top five of China, Australia, Russia, the U.S. and Peru, which together produced 1,417.1 tonnes (45.6 million oz.) in 2016, or 44% of the global total. Continue Reading →

As Canada’s first oilsands mine nears 50-year mark, site a contrast of old, new – by Dan Healing (Canadian Press/Victoria Times Colonist – June 23, 2017)

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Nearly 50 years after the opening of Canada’s first major oilsands mine, the site on the banks of Alberta’s Athabasca River is an epicentre of energy, teeming with bustling workers amid signs of its pioneering past and cutting-edge future.

One of the mine’s upgraders — opened in September 1967 — turns heavy, sticky oilsands bitumen into light synthetic oil to ship to market. In the very near future, the ore containing that bitumen may be hauled by driverless trucks currently undergoing testing on site.

“Technology is a wonderful thing,” said Bill Bruce, general manager of mine production at the Suncor Energy Base Plant, located 24 kilometres north of Fort McMurray. “In some cases people are afraid of it, but if you don’t evolve as an organization or as people, you will be left behind.” Continue Reading →

Junk Science Week: Wherever there’s a flood, someone will be there to wrongly blame it all on global warming – by Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – June 22, 2017)

As flood waters recede from the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, Canadians have been left with the impression that man-made carbon-driven climate change was the cause. A few environmental scientists drew a direct link, including Paul Beckwith, the University of Ottawa climate scientist well-known for wrongly predicting in March, 2013, that all ice would “vanish” from the Arctic by the end of that year.

Now he sees the floods-climate cause-and-effect as being “very clear.” Prime Minister Trudeau blamed the floods on climate change. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna delivered a categorical statement: “This is something that is real. … We are seeing the impacts of climate change.”

The insurance industry also self-servingly promotes the climate change angle. “As a result of the warming climate, floods are becoming more prevalent worldwide. Flooding is the most frequently occurring natural hazard in Canada,” says the Insurance Institute. An insurance executive warned recently that “As climate change unfolds, expect to see extreme weather-related damage continue to trend upward.” Continue Reading →

A tale of two mines: One shovel in the past, the other in the future – by Sunny Freeman (Financial Post – June 21, 2017)

Booms and busts are the norm when it comes to towns built on the mining industry, but the future could see the creation of communities specifically designed to last as long as the mine and for the economic benefits to be spread among many towns. Financial Post reporter Sunny Freeman and videographer Tyler Anderson traveled to one such mine ramping up in northern Quebec and another in Timmins, Ont., which is agonizing over the closing of its increasingly old-fashioned mines

Coverall-clad miners sip coffees and clutch metal lunch boxes as they listen for the shaft operator’s familiar tap-tap-tap signalling the elevator is on its way for the start of another subterranean shift at Goldcorp Inc.’s Dome mine in Timmins, Ont.

They wait for the muddy night-shift workers to step out of the cage before turning on their headlamps, a common courtesy so as not to blind their weary colleagues, before descending a kilometre underground. It’s a daily routine that has been performed for more than a century at Canada’s oldest operating gold mine.

The Dome mine was incorporated in 1910, when northeastern Ontario’s gold rush brought eager prospectors, families and a sense of community to what was then considered the remote north. It is a working relic, an homage to a long history of towns built on the bedrock of mining, when rich, multi-generational projects breathed life into local economies. Continue Reading →

Slow, bumpy market recovery on the cards for most commodities – by Henry Lazenby ( – June 22, 2017)

VANCOUVER ( – The global commodity market is probably in for a slow, drawn-out recovery following the five-year bear market, S&P Global Market Intelligence director for reports on the metals and mining sectors Dr Chris Hinde said during a webcast on Wednesday.

According to S&P’s ‘State of the Market’ report, there was a mixed performance for mined commodities during the first three months of this year, following the “encouraging” price increases last year. The March quarter overall saw a healthy increase in the price of aluminium and steady improvements in the prices of gold, zinc and copper, but flat performances for nickel and iron-ore, and a significant price fall for coal.

“Activity in the mining industry reflects the global economy generally and industrial production in particular. This reflects the uncertain political and economic environment but, fortunately, China has started the New Year with its strongest performance in six quarters,” he noted. Continue Reading →

The world prefers Canadian oil and gas over other exporters, so let’s start getting it to them – by Germain Belzile (Financial Post – June 15, 2017)

Germain Belzile is senior associate researcher at the MEI (

Global energy demand will rise by 30 per cent between 2015 and 2040, according to the World Energy Outlook 2016 published in November by the International Energy Agency (IEA). And although renewable energy will play an increasingly important role, the IEA predicts that demand for natural gas will increase by 50 per cent over this period, largely at the expense of coal, which is much more polluting, while oil consumption will increase by 12 per cent.

Canada, of course, is a significant producer of oil and natural gas. We have the third-largest global reserves of crude, and we are the fifth-largest producers of natural gas. Given the difficulties encountered by our oil and gas industry in getting its products to market, however, we might well wonder if consumers even want Canadian oil and gas products.

Two recent polls shine a light on the opinions of Canadians and of the citizens of 31 other countries when it comes to Canadian petroleum products. The results may be surprising to some. Canada was the most preferred supplier of oil and natural gas in a global poll. Continue Reading →

‘Something forward-thinking, with the promise of innovation’: PotashCorp, Agrium to merge as Nutrien – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – June 21, 2017)

A process engineer from Ohio and business manager from Texas came up with the ideas that inspired Nutrien Inc., the name of the new company that will be formed in the planned merge of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. later this year.

Announced Wednesday, almost 10 months after the companies confirmed that a US$26-billion deal was in the works, the name emerged from a massive contest that resulted in employees from the two companies submitting more than 4,000 ideas.

“Quite literally, the list of names went from ‘Abundantly’ to ‘Zon Terra,’” PotashCorp spokesman Randy Burton said, adding that most of the suggestions — from the Latin “Fertilis” to the Greek “Auxesia” — reflected the combined companies’ businesses. Continue Reading →

And then there was one: Final CEO who made climate deal with Notley left to defend it – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – June 21, 2017)

With Brian Ferguson leaving as CEO of Cenovus Energy Inc. following a disastrous oilsands acquisition, only one of the four top oilsands leaders who made a secret deal with Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley to support her climate change agenda — including a hard cap on oilsands emissions of 100 megatonnes a year — is still around to defend it.

Of the four executives on the stage with Notley during the announcement 18 months ago, Lorraine Mitchelmore left as president of Shell Canada and was replaced by Michael Crothers, who sold Shell’s oilsands business to Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Murray Edwards, the billionaire oil investor and top shareholder of Canadian Natural, moved to the U.K. and has become disengaged from the Canadian oilpatch, though he remains the company’s chairman.

Cenovus announced Tuesday that Ferguson will retire Oct. 31 and that it will search for a new leader. With its stock price shattered by the US$13.3-billion acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ oilsands assets, Cenovus is now vulnerable to being taken over at a bargain-basement price — if there’s still appetite for oilsands companies given Notley’s punishing carbon reduction regime. Continue Reading →

Three-year deadline to lay charges for Mt. Polley dam failure approaching fast – by Gordon Hoekstra (June 20, 2017)

A deadline looms for provincial charges to be laid in the failure of the tailings dam at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine, but the B.C. Conservation Officer Service says the investigation has not finished.

There is a three-year time limit to lay charges under B.C.’s Environmental Management Act. The deadline is less than two months away, on Aug. 4. The conservation service has been leading a joint investigation with the federal Environment and Fisheries departments.

Chris Doyle, deputy chief of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, said Tuesday that when the investigation is complete, the findings will be forwarded to Crown counsel for review and to determine what charges will be laid, if any. Continue Reading →